Aug 25, 2010

Jambalaya Jumble

Jambalaya is a jumble of ingredients and it seems that there's no limit to what can be used.  When it comes to jambalaya, I'm all jumbled up too. 

I've written before (along with a recipe for Crab & Andouille Jambalaya) about the history of jambalaya and its different styles: the brown Cajun jambalaya and the red Creole version.  I grew up with red jambalaya and was perfectly satisfied living that way.  Until I moved to Cajun country and discovered brown jambalaya.  Suddenly I was hurtin' myself on that, shunning the Creole style like a restaurant table by the bathrooms.

But ya know, sometimes that table ain't so bad.  Sure it's a busy spot.  Sure it might shake you up...make you a little uneasy.  But it's rarely dull.  There's a lively constant flow of faces--some familiar ones who stop and chat and some unfamiliar ones who may surprise you and stop to chat too.

So, I'm back on Creole red jambalaya.  Lately brown jambalaya seems like the booth in the, quiet, comfortable, but kinda boring.  The table by the restrooms is definitely a more interesting place to be.

Read more about the differences between Creole & Cajun people and their food.

Mise en place for jambalaya: oil, smoked sausage or ham, onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, green onion, white rice, dried thyme, salt, pepper, Tony's, beef broth, canned tomatoes, hot sauce, shrimp

I'm not going to lie to ya.  This is a lot of chopping. 
To keep the weeknight crazies to a minimum, I like to chop what I need ahead of time. 
Everything goes in plastic containers in the fridge.
Sometimes I prep more than one meal at a time.
If an ingredient, like green onions or parsley, doesn't go into the dish until the end, I wrap them separately.

The first step is to heat oil in a pot and brown the sausage.  While many Creole jambalayas are made with ham, I'm just not that big on it.  I use smoked sausage.  Or, use both.  I won't judge.
This is how Cajun jambalaya gets its brown browning the meat.
When the sausage is browned, remove from the pot. 
Use the drippings to saute the onions, bell pepper, and celery.  
Next add the garlic and green onions and saute for a few minutes.
Here's a trick.  A lot of recipes want you to dump the rice in when you add the liquid.  I like to add the rice now, stir to coat with oil, and saute for a couple of minutes.  I think this helps the individual grains stay individuals instead of a mushy clump.

Add the sausage back to the pot, along with any juices.
Add the dry seasonings and hot sauce.
Add the broth and tomatoes, which is why Creole jambalaya is red.
Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes.
Don't stir and don't lift the lid to peek.

The shrimp go in last, after the rice is all but done, so they don't overcook and get tough.
Add the shrimp and gently fold in.  If you stir, you'll mush up the rice.  If there's a lot of liquid left leave the lid off while the shrimp cook.

After about 10 minutes, the shrimp will be done. 
Serve it up with more hot sauce and a beer and enjoy!

This is linked to:
What's on the Menu Wednesday @ Dining With Debbie
Tip Day Thursday @ Around My Family Table
Food on Friday: Rice & Grains @ Carole's Chatter

Creole Style Shrimp Jambalaya
from Ms. enPlace

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb smoked sausage, cut in half moons
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup green onions OR parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Tony's Creole Seasoning
hot sauce to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (don't drain)
1 14.5 oz can beef broth
1 cup uncooked white rice
1 lb shrimp, shelled
additional green onions or parsley for garnish

Heat oil in a dutch oven. Add sausage, brown, and remove. Saute onion, bell pepper, and celery in sausage drippings until tender. Add garlic and green onion or parsley and saute until garlic is fragrant (a couple of minutes).

Add rice and saute a few minutes. Add sausage back to the pot along with the seasonings, tomatoes, and broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and lower to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes (do not stir or peek). Add shrimp to pot and fold in. Cook 10 minutes more. If there is still liquid, cook without lid. Serve topped with green onions or parsley and hot sauce.


  1. I've never made brown or red jambalaya ... and I'm not sure why - because its so yummy! I really like your trick with adding the rice before the liquid. I often find jambalaya too mushy, so I've no doubt this is a better way to go.

    Great tip on pre-chopping and wrapping the ingredients. I do that too sometimes. :)

  2. Sometimes you just gotta shake things up a bit and go red! I'm with ham in my jambalaya. I like the smoked sausage so much better and it has so much more flavor. This looks hearty and comforting and just like what I've been craving.

    P.S. My three year old loves the cd you sent. We haven't gotten to the second song yet because he always wants me to play number one....over and over (you know how that goes)!

  3. WOW! This looks wonderful! Thanks so much for linking up to Tip Day Thursday at Around My Family Table!

    I can't wait to give this a try.

  4. Your version looks great! We love jambalaya and I've made it both ways. The creole version is always so colorful and I will try your way.

  5. yummy. yummy. yummy. I like the way you prep way ahead of time.


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